NSW publishes world’s first guidelines for safe work with cobots

Image credit: centreforwhs.nsw.gov.au

The Centre for Work Health and Safety in New South Wales has published the world’s first guidelines for working safely with collaborative robots, also known as cobots. 

The Guidelines for Safe Collaborative Robot Design and Implementation is the result of collaboration with the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, the University of Technology Sydney, Robotics Institute, the University of Technology Sydney, the Centre for Inclusive Design, and Kairos Now. 

Natasha Mann, head of SafeWork NSW, said the guidelines seek to address the increasing gap in the current workplace health and safety framework focused on how workplaces can safely engage with cobots. 

“The potential WHS risks cobots present are reasonably well known overseas, with several cases of workers being injured in cobot-related incidents,” Mann said.

The guideline outlines easy-to-adopt strategies and resources to plan and design cobot-safe workplaces, mitigate hazards, and minimise harm. They are also intended to be used on both a strategic level for businesses and an operational level for workers, Mann added.

“The research informing the guidelines included identifying WHS risks of working with cobots, a study to explore human attitudes and perceptions about how safe design can be supported and enabled, and codesign sessions to support safe implementation,” the SafeWork official said.